Sunday, September 5, 2010

Santa Maria Tri Tip, Pinquito Beans & Grilled Corn from Susie Q's Brand

Juicy, Perfectly Seasoned & Oak Grilled Tri-Tip with a lot of help from Susie-Q's products.

Traditional Santa Maria Pinquito Beans from Susie Q's Brand

Labor Day can be a bittersweet farewell as summer is ready to pack up and leave us until next year. Already, my cooking magazines are featuring roasted turkey recipes and pumpkin pies! Excuse me?  We folks on the Central Coast of California are just now gearing up for our typical Indian Summer weather!  My Weber grill is still longing to be fired up! My local farm stand is still picking luscious strawberries and there are still plenty of corn stalks waiting to be harvested and thrown onto the grill.   That's exactly what we will be doing for this three day weekend.  My soups and stews recipes can wait a few more weeks-- as far as I'm concerned,  we love to grill year-round. Period.

A few weeks ago, I received a lovely email from "Christopher".   Apparently, he spotted my blog post on my version of Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip.  He asked if I could like to try some of Susie Q's  Santa Maria seasonings. I thought about it for a non-second and immediately replied "please and thank you".  I received the box above.  I wanted to wait for a sunny day to grill outside. For those of you who live in my area (Monterey, California),  you can vouch for the fact that we have had an unseasonably cool summer with lots of fog and overcast skies.  This weekend blessed us with the perfect grilling weather, so I headed off to Whole Foods to buy tri-tip.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this cut of beef,  tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin primal cut. It is a small triangular muscle (hence, the name), usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs.

I have recently discovered two important things about what kind of beef (or any meat) I buy:
#1 - If you can buy grass fed beef (rather than grain fed), it's totally worth it.  I've become more aware of what is being fed to what I plan to consume (just watch the film "Food Inc" and you will understand).  I can taste the difference in flavor and texture. Seriously!
#2 - Grass fed beef is becoming more widely available in grocery stores. I'm fortunate to live near a Whole Foods. $6.99 a pound, to me, costs more than grain fed beef. Still, I think it's worth spending a few dollars more. Since I was cooking for 2-3 people, I bought a small piece-- this one weighs less than 2 pounds.
(If you'd like to more info on why grass fed beef is healthier for you, you can click here.)

First, I made the beans. These are Santa Maria Pinquito beans. This is the first time that I've tried them, as I cannot find them in my area. That's probably because, Pinquito beans grow well in the fertile soil and mild climate of the Santa Maria Valley, which is the only place where pinquito beans are grown commercially.

 They resemble pink beans, only a little smaller.  I sorted and washed the beans.  Then, I opened the seasoning packet.  There are a lot of spices and aromatics going on!

Per the instructions, I added water and gave it a stir. I brought the beans to a boil, covered them and let them simmer. The instructions said for two hours, but I allowed for three.  Easy! 30 minutes before starting the coals, I brought the meat to room temperature.  I seasoned the tri-tip with Susie Q's Santa Maria Style Seasoning.


So, what makes this Santa Maria Style?  Santa Maria Style Barbecue requires a specific preparation. The favored cuts of meat are top block sirloin and tri-tip. Before cooking, the meat is seasoned with a special blend of salt, black pepper and garlic salt. The meat is then grilled over coals of red oak, a wood that is native to the region, giving the meat a hearty, smoky flavor. The seasoning smelled wonderful as I took a whiff of it. I was inspired to make a compound butter for grilled corn:

To one stick of butter, I added some of the seasoning (I "eyeballed" it... a couple of teaspoons, I'd guess). I added fresh chopped cilantro and some lime juice. I debated adding some chili powder, but I figured the beans would be spicy enough.  I chilled the butter, until it was time to serve the grilled corn.  Speaking of grilling--  I didn't photograph the process of setting up the charcoal or soaking oak chips, since I've already blogged that part. (You can always view it here.)  Once the meat was seared over direct coals, Craig added the Susie Q's Red Oak Chips, that had been soaked for about an hour.  The meat was moved to indirect heat (to the side away from the hot coals).  Ah, the smoke is building!

 I live in the Salinas Valley of California-- home of one of the biggest Rodeos in the World. I grew up riding on ranches, have owned horses and have hung out with plenty of cowboys and ranchers. I've been fortunate to experience authentic ranch style barbecue.  Nothing beats cooking over authentic oak wood!  It's such a great flavor.  But, I now live in the 'burbs.  A Weber grill will just have to be a substitute.  Craig grilled the meat until it reached 130F (we like ours medium-pink) and we let it rest, knowing it would continue to cook.


Craig has mastered the art of making great corn.  He microwaves the corn, in the husk, for 3-4 minutes per ear of corn. My brother joined us for dinner, so we cooked three years. After 8 minutes, he lets them cool enough to peel back the husk.  They are grilled until lightly golden, using the husks as a handle.

The corn is rolled around so that the cilantro-lime butter is evenly coated...

The beans!  Let me tell you a little about those.  We like our beans a bit thick.  After three hours, of a low simmer, they were definitely ready.  At first, I tasted heat... as in spice.  But, then my tongue adapted and I could taste a background of smoky cumin.  Still, I didn't want watery beans. No problem.  I ladled out a lot of the liquid and then pondered what to do.  I finally decided to make a slurry of some cornstarch and water and whisked it into some liquid. Once it thickened, I slowly added it until the beans were thick-- to our liking.  My brother quickly ate the bowl of beans I had photographed.  He loved them!

Of course, I had to make the Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa.

Now, for the moment of truth on the Tri-Tip...

My husband, who really doesn't like to cook (and swears he can't) has really learned how to grill meat.  This is exactly how we like our beef to be grilled. It's a perfect pink!

I had to blow up this shot.  Please tell me you can see how juicy this slice of beef is!  I took a bite...

VERDICT:  Let's start with the beef.  (Doing a happy dance).  The seasoning is spot on!  It's not too salty, not too much garlic. The pepper ratio is perfect.  To me, Tri-Tip doesn't need sauce. No way!  The meat is tender, and the smoky oak flavor... I can almost hear the cattle lowing, the cowboys are coming home!  This is Santa Maria Style barbecue.   The corn was sweet and tender and the seasoning was perfect for the cilantro-lime butter.  The beans were a hit.  The oak chips are such a treat for adding a smoky flavor, even with a weber (or you can also make a foil smoke packet for a gas grill).  I still like my other version of Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip, but I think this is easier and-- dare I say-- I think it's better


Craig and I live less than four hours from Santa Maria, California.  The next time we drive south, I hope that we can visit to the family restaurant, at the Far West Tavern.   I hope that's sooner, rather than later.



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37 comments:

Susan said...

Are you kidding? I'd love to try the pinquito beans. They look wonderful, and your tri-tip....well, no need to talk about that. Your beautiful pictures say it all. Thanks.

Monica H said...

I would also like to try those beans because they look awesome! Heck, I'd like to try the entire meal but I can't order that from Susie Q!

Big Dude said...

Wow, what a meal. The beef looks perfect.

pinknest said...

Those beans looks outrageously good. And while I'm at ti, I'm going to eat some of that beef, too. Yum!

Joanne said...

I'm all about grass fed local beef as well! I eat beef so infrequently, that paying the extra few dollars for it is totally worth it to know that I'm not clogging my arteries with grain-fed saturated fat.

That tri-tip is certainly perfectly cooked! Pink and juicy just the way it should be.

The seasonings sound awesome. I would love to try the California seasoning!

Cathy said...

You've cooked your tri-tip to perfection, Debby. And I second your assessment of grass fed beef. It is worth the few extra dollars. What a meal!

Christine said...

I would love to try smoking meat with the oak wine barrel chips. The prices are very reasonable too. I'm a new visitor and your food looks very tasty and beautiful!

gamer39 said...

I like the Sherry Citrus Rib Glaze it looks yummy!

Bonnie said...

I'd love to try the red label seasoning. I love that it contains no MSG, which trigger migraines for me. Thanks for the giveaway.

All Things Yummy said...

Wow, everything you made looks so delicious. I agree on the grass-fed beef. Totally worth it.
For the giveaway, I'd love to try the sherry citrus rib glaze. So awesome. Any reason to make ribs is a good reason.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Red Label Santa Maria Valley Style Seasoning - sounds good to me!

rick said...

Tri Tip AKA Newport Steak when you not on the west coast.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

That meat is perfectly cooked! It's funny but I never heard of tri-tip until a friend of mine from California talked about it. No one here calls it that. Those beans look intriguing, especially with those seasonings.

stacief said...

The beans look great! And I'd love to try the beef jerky!

charlene020 said...

I am a jerky fan so it would have to be the beef jerky with the santa maria style seasoning - Thanks for the chance to enter and have a great week.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Rick, thanks for giving a non-West coast name to Tri-tip. It also goes by another, but it escapes me for now...

Nive said...

Thanks for this giveaway...I would love to try the 'pie mixes'.

ramvinayak_81@rediffmail.com

bellini valli said...

Fire up the grill I am hopping on a plane for some pinto beans and tri tip barbecued to perfection.

Carole said...

My mouth was watering looking at all of your photos.

I'd try a custom trio==citrus glaze, wine-barrel wood chips, and pinquito beans.

I already follow you here and on FB, and while I was at it, I "liked" Susie Q's FB page, too.

Thanks for the fun giveaway.

Suzanne aka vivisue said...

The Santa Maria Seasoning would be my pick, as would the excellent tri-tip! Great post! Love everything that you have prepared for this meal. I'll have to keep my eye out for the pinquito beans! "Like" on FB for you and Santa Maria!

Gail said...

The Red label Santa Maria Valley Style Seasoning looks really interesting to me. I'm closer to Sacramento, CA and have never heard of Santa Maria tri-tip. It looks delicious!

Lizzy said...

I would love either of those wood chips! We grill on our charcoal Weber grill frequently and these would sure be fun to try! Thanks for offering such a fun give away :)

Ashley said...

I would love to try their Beef Jerky with Santa Maria Style Seasoning!! It sounds amazing!!!

theUngourmet said...

Such a beautiful meal! You are so right about cooking over oak. So good! Your cilantro butter with the corn on the cob is divine! Yum! Great meal!

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Biz said...

First off, your meal looks absolutely wonderful, and yes, your hubs cooked a perfectly good piece of meat.

I rarely buy tri-tip, I need to put that on my next grocery list.

Love all those seasonings that company offers, but would actually love their antiqued salt holder - its on the "sale" section for $25!

The Merlin Menu said...

Beautiful post, as most of yours are.

Aside from being alphabetically first in my list of favorites, I would read them first anyway.

I'm a blogger also.

Here's my attempts.

http://themerlinmenu.blogspot.com

Ron
The Merlin Menu

Stephanie Savors the Moment said...

OMG everything about your meal looks insanely delicious! The tri tip is perfectly cooked and those beans and corn look amazing. I am so happy to have found your blog & just signed up to follow you. Stop by and visit me sometime at www.stephaniesavorsthemoment.com - food & wine are my passion! Looking forward to your next delicious post - Cheers!

Jennifer said...

I'd like to try the Santa Maria Style Seasoning! The meal you made is mouthwatering!

Keri said...

I would absolutely love to try the Red Label Santa Maria Valley Style Seasoning. My husband is always trying to combine spices for meat rubs and whatnot. I think he would love this!

bratgrrl said...

I'm so glad Dru turned me on to your blog~ She was also my next door neighbor when we were kids~

I would so love to try all of these wonderful Susie Q products, especially the beans!

I will also try your husbands grilled corn! I have been trying to figure out the best way to grill it!!

Ally said...

The citrus glaze sounds amazing!

Carla and Michael said...

You never fail us. What a gorgeous looking tri tip. Cudos to the hubby. The entire meal looks outstanding.

Lionmb said...

I'd love to try the Sherry Citrus Rib Glaze as I love ribs!!

bella (roz) said...

Hi Debby, You sure have the recipes for tri-tip beef! I've still never ever seen this in the markets! Anyhow, I was reading your post about grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef and was hoping that you'd stop by and link this post up on my fresh clean and pure friday link up. I'm getting more quality blog posts related to cleaning up our lives, and less garbage. That's good, quality is what i'm looking for and not quantity. You always have great tips and we're all trying to get healthier while eating well! Thanks for your time . . . and this recipe!!!!

Velva said...

The whole meal looks wonderful.
I am in the throes on Indian summer would love to open the windows and let some cool air inside.

funfunfun said...

Looks Delicious!
Following from Weekend Blog Hop...would love to have you follow back!
http://funfritzfamily.blogspot.com/